Monday, July 11, 2011

Bachmann’s Bluff

Apart from not applying the standard punctuation for the abbreviation of Doctor of Philosophy on his website, Bachmann and Associates, Incorporated, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, a self-proclaimed Christian therapist, may be misleading more than the innocent “barbarians” who seek out his “expertise”.

The following is listed in Dr. Bachmann’s bio as part of his educational credentials:
PhD – Clinical Psychology, Union Graduate School, OH.

My first question: Does Union Graduate School exist? The answer: it did exist at one time; it doesn’t exist any more. Here is a chronology of the School’s history.

The Union Graduate School traces its origins to 1964, when a consortium headquartered at the campus of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, included a number of schools experimenting with alternative education philosophies. In 1969 the consortium was renamed the "Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities", directing its focus toward providing educational opportunities for non-traditional students whose needs were best served by a non-residential college experience. The consortium also formed a graduate school called "The Union Graduate School", which offered a Ph.D. in Arts and Sciences.

However, in 1978, the consortium filed for bankruptcy, was later reorganized and eventually emerged from bankruptcy renamed as "The Union Institute" (1986). As the Union Institute, it continued to run its graduate school. In October, 2001, the consortium was dissolved, and The Union Institute was renamed the Union Institute & University, which began operating as a private university.

The Union Institute's Ph.D. program came under scrutiny by the Ohio Board of Regents in the late 1990s early 2000s which culminated in its 2002 Reauthorization Report. The report was critical of the Union Institute's Ph.D. program, noting in particular that " ... expectations for student scholarship at the doctoral level were not as rigorous as is common for doctoral work ... " (OBR 2002 Reauthorization Report, page 13) As a result, The Union was put on probation, the Union Graduate School was dissolved and the Ph.D. program was restructured. Formerly the Union had offered one Ph.D. program in Arts and Sciences. Its name and focus were changed and two other doctoral programs were broken out
• Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.)
• Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology

Currently, the formal title of the Union Institute and University’s Ph.D. degree is " Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies." This title and the program reflect the original idea of the consortium of offering a non-residential Ph.D. program that avoided specialization and did not take as long to complete as a traditional program (originally it took a minimum of two years to complete). While there has been some confusion in the way Ph.D.s are titled, with many Ph.D.s being represented in particular fields, the Ph.D. at the Union Institute and University is and has always been a single Ph.D. and its concentration or specialization areas should not be confused with the degree itself.

What does all this mean? On his website Dr. Bachmann states he’s had 23 years experience. Simple math brings us to the year 1988. If Dr. Bachmann’s Ph.D. was completed prior to this date, he might have graduated from The Union Graduate School which offered ONLY a Ph.D. in Arts and Sciences. If he graduated later than 1986, then he would have graduated from The Union Institute (1986), or The Union Institute and University (2001) and his Ph.D. would have been in Interdisciplinary Studies.

If in fact Dr. Marcus Bachmann graduated from this institute, whatever it was named at the time, he would not have graduated with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The ONLY doctorate in Clinical Psychology was offered after 2001, and the degree is a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) and not a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy).

In my opinion, I highly doubt that Dr. Marcus Bachmann is even a licensed Psychologist. However, at this point in time, I was unable to confirm my suspicion, as web access to the Psychology Board of Minnesota site, which is part of the State of Minnesota website has been suspended for the duration of the state government shutdown.

To err is human; to forgive divine; to mislead is simply un-Christian.

28 comments:

Keith said...

Superb research. Bachmann needs to be exposed for the liar he is. He claims to not be anti-gay but I bet he has NEVER counseled a patient to accept their orientation or improve their relationship with their same-sex spouse.

LadyAtheist said...

It's "Ph.D." here: http://www.christiancounselingresource.com/results.php?keyword=bachmann&where=&template_id=#bachmann-associates-corporated

JARS said...

Thanks. On the Bachmann and Associates website, which is the clinical website I was interested in, it is listed as PhD

zyxek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zyxek said...

Good work. I wonder why no newspapers or lefty blogs have gone after this before. I know that focusing on the spouse can seem like a roundabout way of discrediting a candidate, but Marcus Bachmann is an unusual case.

Michele Bachmann's support of patriarchal Biblical interpretations brings up big questions about his level of influence. And if he were to become (FSM forbid) the first gentleman, his reactionary and unscientific anti-gay views would suddenly have a worldwide platform.

So he needs to be investigated more heavily by the Mainstream media, or at least by ideological journalists (whose work could then be reported in mainstream media).

Duncan Osborne said...

In 1988, he submitted a thesis in partial fulfillment of his Masters of Arts in Counseling at CBN University. CBN is now Regent University so we know the academic standards are low.

In 1995, he submitted a dissertation in partial fulfillment of his Doctor of Philosophy at The Union Institute.

Both documents were on the effect that out of home childcare has on mother-child attachment. There was no original research in the CBN document so he was free to conclude that such childcare is bad and, of course, he selected the data that supported that conclusion.

For the '95 paper, he had to do a Behavior Assessment System for Children study. He had the parents of 25 pre-school children fill out questionnaires. That data did not show any differences between kids in out of home childcare and those with stay at home mothers. I assume he had IRB review.

I have copies of both studies. You're welcome to see them.

Nate Montgomery said...

I found the same information that you did, and was planning to e-mail a blogger about this, but decided to Google before to see if anyone else had discovered the same things. Anyway, yes, I agree with your conclusions, I'd also add that three of his therapists went to Argosy University. The wikipedia entry on Argosy is quite illuminating, here's one of the articles they reference.

http://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=18044

Additionally, one of his therapists just lists "Ph.D." without detailing the school he received it from. WTH? And of course, none of his therapists say in which year they graduated either.

JARS said...

Ducan,thanks for your comments. I know very well Dr. Randy Kamphaus and Dr. Cecil Reynolds, the authors of the BASC-2; I would be very interested in seeing these studies. I would also like to share that second study with both Randy and Cecil.

JARS said...

Nate, thanks for your comments and for the link. I am currently looking at the credentials of the "therapists" at Bachmann and Associates.

hector said...

Bachmann received a Ph.D in Arts and Sciences from Union in 1995. Shortly thereafter, the program was suspended and then abolished. In other words, the degree he holds no longer exists. He did not receive a Ph.D. in Psychology, clinical or otherwise. He did not receive a PsyD.

Dorothy said...

Thank you for your careful and ongoing investigation of the credentials of Marcus Bachmann and other therapists at his counseling center. It is a service to anyone considering treatment there, no matter what the problem.

MSEH said...

Note: Her Wikipedia entry states that he received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Anybody with wiki skills want to correct that?

teeveedub said...

As to relevance to Michelle Bachmann's candidacy, it is indeed relevant, because she is a partner in this "business." She is also proudly holding up this sham of a counseling practice as an example of "job creation."

JARS said...

Hector, thanks for your comments and confirmation of the findings on Marcus Bachmann.

JARS said...

To Dorothy: agreed! When friends ask for my advice in seeking therapy, I always recommend that THEY interview the THERAPIST. Where did the therapist go to school? Is the therapist licensed? If so, what type of license? Is the therapist a counselor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a psychologist practitioner? Is the therapist being supervised, or can the therapist practice independently? How long has the therapist been in practice and what is the therapist's specialization? Is the therapist a secular practitioner? If third party payment (i.e. insurance coverage) what DSM-IV-TR diagnostic code is the therapist considering/using to determine and help communicate the patient's diagnosis? In considering psychological evaluation, counseling, therapy – it is important to approach these services as an informed consumer.

JARS said...

MSEH: I am looking into the Wiki entry. Interesting to note that the Bachmann and Associates, Inc. website has been near impossible to access; increased traffic to the site? Perhaps.

JARS said...

To teeveedub: Michele Bachmann is indeed a partner in the "family business", which is now fair game for scrutiny by the public eye(s).

Allah Is Dead said...

Why is there something wrong with counseling a client that being gay is a sin or that they can change their ways if that is what the Torah, Quran or Bible teach?

sari gordon said...

I'll take a stab: because Bible/Torah/Koran-based teaching is not the same as the kind of training required to call oneself a psychologist, or a Ph.D. and thus, I assume, have credentials consistent with appropriate boards and insurance companies. The punishments proscribed in those texts might be considered illegal in contemporary, enlightened society. And--just a hunch--"sin" is not a condition covered in the DSM-IV-TR.

JARS said...

Thanks Sari for your comments and for responding to "Allah".

JARS said...

To Allah Is Dead: there are several issues to consider in response to your question. However, the issue whether being "gay" is a sin will not be addressed because it is irrelevant in this context, and I repeat a comment left by Sari: “sin” is not a condition listed in the DSM-IV-TR.

As to whether a religious counselor can counsel a client according to their religious beliefs? This issue concerns standards, professional licensure, ethical practices, and the separation of church and state.

Clinical staff who practice with professional licensure are governed by policy, standards, ethical principles, and codes of conduct set forth by their professional associations. The American Psychological Association (APA), the scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States is explicit in one of many resolutions concerning sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE); the resolution “. . . encourages mental health professionals to avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts by promoting or promising change in sexual orientation when providing assistance to individuals distressed by their own or others’ sexual orientation . . . .”
If SOCE are evidenced as part of treatment options offered by the professional psychology staff at Bachmann & Associates, Inc., then those staff are violating ethical principles set forth by the APA.

Bachmann & Associates, Inc. list the clinic as a Christian Counseling Center, implying a private religious, not a public, agency. The “establishment clause” in the First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the state from establishing a religion. In the same amendment, the “free exercise” clause prohibits the state from preventing the free exercise of religion. From this the courts derived the concept of “separation of church and state”. The Bachmann clinic is receiving/has received public funds (Medicaid payments). By accepting public funds, the clinic no longer enjoys private status, and therefore is subject to state mandates and regulations, which disallow the counseling of clients according to their religious beliefs. Bachmann & Associates, Inc. is free to accept public funds or free to refuse public funds. However, there are ethical implications with either choice.

I am not versed in the Torah or the Quran, but I do know that nowhere in the Christian Bible does it explicitly “teach” that one’s sexual orientation can be changed.

Pablo said...

Marcus David Bachmann got a PhD in 1995 in the area of Preschool education, Social psychology, Developmental psychology. The title of his thesis is "Security attachment of children 48 to 60 months of age enrolled in institutionalized day care for the first time from home care" and it is deposited properly at Dissertations Abstracts.

Quibbling over whether the university technically gave "Clinical Psychology" is BS (I tell people I have a PhD in Organic Chemistry all the time, despite my diploma only says "Chemistry.")

I have no love for the Bachmann's, but he has a legimate PhD.

JARS said...

Response to Pablo: Marcus Bachmann's Ph.D. is in Arts and Sciences; it is not in psychology. The Union Graduate Institute never had a Ph.D. program in psychology. You state that your doctorate is in Chemistry; to say you have a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry may not be precise, but it's in Chemistry. A Ph.D. in Arts and Sciences is NOT the same thing as a Ph.D. in psychology, whether that degree is in clinical, developmental, organizational, school psychology etc. HOWEVER, a doctorate in clinical psychology, whether a Ph.D. or a Psy.D., has specific implications for licensure. Do you need a license to be a chemist or an organic chemist? One cannot practice under the term "psychologist" without meeting professional and state requirements, passing a state licensing exam, and meeting supervision requirements of 2000 hours (depending on the state). All these requirements must be met before the clinician is licensed. There are legal implications as well. And then there are some psychology Ph.D.'s, for example, Educational Psychology, that do not qualify you to sit for a state licensing exam.

Then there is the issue of misrepresentation, which runs counter to any professional code of ethics and conduct. Marcus Bachmann may have specialized in areas of education and psychology, but his degree is in Arts and Sciences and NOT in Psychology. To post having a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology grossly misleads the public. Quibbling? Not so much. It's a matter of ethics!!

Postscript: a Ph.D. was awarded to Marcus Bachmann by the Union Graduate Institute, which no longer exists. Legitimate? Well, he has the degree and I don't think it can be taken away. But here's something to consider: the doctoral program came under scrutiny in the 1990's and early 2000's by the Ohio Board of Regents. They found the doctoral program to be lacking in rigor; as a result the Union was put on probation, the Graduate School was disbanded, and the doctoral program was restructured.


You mention he has "deposited properly" his thesis at Dissertations Abstracts. You should know how easy it is to publish an abstract. Here's a site (one of hundreds), Thesis Abstract and Dissertation Abstracts, which offers free publication of abstracts. His "deposit" may be a fact, but it doesn't necessarily establish "legitimacy" in the field.

Not On Duty! said...

PhD is acceptable; periods aren't necessary. Whether the degree is legit is the more pertinent issue. Further, one cannot call oneself a clinical psychologist or even a psychologist in some states (licensing is state-by-state) without being licensed.

Becky said...

If you look at his website, it says that he got his "PhD" at the "Union Graduate School"-- not the later "Institute". The "Institute" was accredited, and UGS was not. Please keep getting this message out. He's lying-- a "PhD" in Interdisciplinary Studies is NOT a Ph.D in Counseling Psychology, and it is not semantics.

It's also relevant because our tax dollars are being used to support religious counseling. If he wants to be a religious counselor, then he should say that. But offering "clinical psychology" services for which you claim a non-existent degree-- that's very serious.

JARS said...

To Not-On-Duty: Most traditional grammar experts "require" periods for all academic degrees; it certainly is preferred in copywriting except as noted in The Chicago Manual of Style. Agreed: The more pertinent issue is whether the degree is legit.

Thanks for your comments.

JARS said...

To Becky: Thanks for your comments. Indeed, where is the mainstream media on all of this? Acceptance of Medicaid to support Christian counseling violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

Glenn S said...

Fantastic! I wish the media would report these stories. Remember investigative journalism? Great work!!